Patriots’ Draft Day Preview – Part II: Staying at 15th
It's journey No. 2 into the Patriots' Draft Multiverse...
In Part I, the Pats ended up drafting - 16th overall: CB Jaycee Horn (SC); 46th overall: WR Elijah Moore (Ole Miss); 51st overall: QB Kellen Mond (A&M); 96th overall: LB Jamin Davis (KT); 122nd overall: T Brady Christensen (BYU) with their top-5 picks.
For a full breakdown of each selection, check out Part I of this series.
Part II -
After months of endless anticipation, the 2021 NFL Draft is here! To celebrate, let’s take one final look at how the Patriots’ draft could go based on a number of different circumstances. For these exercises, we will use Pro Football Focus’s Mock Draft Simulator while controlling only the Patriots. - We will use the same picks for the other 31 teams for each of the four separate mock drafts. -
In this draft, we’re going to assume the Patriots stay at 15th overall and don’t make any trades in the first round, or anywhere else - Part II: Picking at 15th overall.
Here is how the first round has played out through picks 1-14:
- QB, Trevor Lawrence (JAX); 2. QB, Zach Wilson (NYJ); 3. QB, Trey Lance (SF); 4. TE, Kyle Pitts (ATL); 5. OT, Penei Sewell (CIN); 6. WR, Ja’Marr Chase (MIA); 7. WR, DeVonta Smith (DET); 8. WR, Jaylen Waddle (CAR); 9. LB, Micah Parsons (DEN); 10. CB, Patrick Surtain II (DAL); 11. T, Rashaun Slater (NYG); 12. QB, Justin Fields (PHI); 13. T, Christian Darrisaw (LAC); 14. EDGE, Kwitty Paye (MIN).
On the board - CB Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech); CB Jaycee Horn (South Carolina); DT Christian Barmore (Alabama); EDGE Jaelen Phillips (Miami [FL]); LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame); S Travon Moehrig (TCU); T Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC).
Analysis: Owusa-Koramoah and Phillips present intriguing possibilities at linebacker and edge rusher, respectively. Some Patriots mock drafts have the team selecting Christian Darrisaw should he still be available at #15, so it’s not out of the picture for the Pats to reach for Vera-Tucker and bolster the line. Ultimately, though, I still think Bill turns to the cornerback position in this scenario, and given the choice this time of Farley or Horn, I still think he goes with the guy from SC...
“With the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: CB Jaycee Horn, (South Carolina)”
Same as the last time we picked Horn - Just like that, the Patriots have started the draft on a winning note, acquiring multiple picks and taking who many think is the second-highest rated cornerback in the draft. The 6’1” corner allowed an opponent QB rating of just 54.9 and had two interceptions. Some project Horn as comparable to Green Bay’s Jaire Alexander at the NFL level.
Up next - 2nd round, Pick #46 -
On the board - QB Kellen Mond (Texas A&M); QB Davis Mills (Stanford); WR Elijah Moore (Ole Miss); T Walker Little (Stanford); T Dillon Radunz (North Dakota St.); S Elijah Molden (Washington); LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky); EDGE Ronnie Perkins (Oklahoma).
Analysis: This is where it gets interesting for New England. Picking at 46th, the Pats are gearing up for a gap of 50 picks until their next selection at 96th. The first of the second tier of QB’s - Kyle Trask - went off the board at 39th to Carolina. While Bill still has his pick of the same players from last time he must consider that, should he want to draft a QB at some point, he will be waiting around for quite awhile until he gets another shot. How much does that factor into his decision?...
“With the 46th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: QB Kellen Mond, (Texas A&M)”
In the end, I think it makes all the difference. Bill knows he must grab a QB of the future and that Cam Newton is nothing more than another one-year holdover. The 21-year-old was a Heisman Finalist last year and one of just three QB’s in SEC history to pass for 9,000 yards and rush for 1,500 yards. Mond can study behind Newton for a year, before getting handed the keys in 2022.
Next up - 3rd round-conditional, Pick #96 -
On the board - LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky); S Jamar Johnson (Indiana); CB Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky); G Kendrick Green (Illinois); CB Tay Gowan (UCF); T Brady Christensen (BYU).
Analysis: Once again, Bill has to go for the best player on the board…
“With the 96th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky)”
PFF’s big board has Davis as the 41st ranked prospect. With Davis still sitting there 55 picks later, well, that’s just not a value Bill can pass up. Could Davis be the next to join the celebrated lineage of Patriot linebackers from McGinest, Bruschi and Vrabel to Mayo and Hightower? He’ll certainly have time to learn as he enters an already deep linebacker’s room.
Up next - 4th round, Pick #120 -
On the board - DT Osa Odighizuwa (UCLA); LB Marlon Tuipulotu (USC); S Jamar Johnson (Indiana); CB Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky); G Kendrick Green (Illinois); CB Tay Gowan (UCF); T - Brady Christensen (BYU).
Analysis: Now we get to make another new pick from the last scenario, as this pick was dealt to Washington as part of the first round deal in Part I. The additions of Odighizuwa and Tuipulotu are enough to change the pick in this multiverse, along with the assurance that Christinsen would likely still be there at #122, as demonstrated by Part I…
“With the 120th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: DT Osa Odighizuwa, (UCLA)”
This has been a position highlighted around this time in the draft for the Pats all along and in Osa, Belichick finds a valuable depth piece to add to his D-line. Osa is a slim figure compared to most nose tackles in the NFL, coming in at just 6’2”/279lbs. Osa would serve as an insurance policy alongside Byron Cowart and behind Davon Godchaux and Lawrence Guy. He also may prove to be more of a pass rusher than either of the three, as Osa tallied five sacks, seven QB hits and 13 hurries in his seven-game redshirt senior season.
Up next - 4th round, Pick #122 -
On the board - Brady Christensen is all you have to worry about.
Analysis: Here’s where Bill wrangles that hog molly…
“With the 122nd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: T Brady Christensen, (BYU)”
The 6’6” Christensen earned a rating 96.0 during 13 games in his junior season in Provo according to PFF. All told, he played in 38 games and allowed just three sacks over the course of 1,403 pass block attempts in his three-year collegiate career, good for a 99.8 percent protection rate. The Pats’ O-Line can now deal with multiple injuries and potentially go seven-deep with starter-level production across the board.
In this scenario, we end up with two different players than in Part I and grabbed the QB five spots higher:
- 16th overall: CB Jaycee Horn (SC); 46th overall: QB Kellen Mond (A&M); 96th overall: LB Jamin Davis (KT); 120th overall: DT Osa Odighizuwa (UCLA); 122nd overall: T Brady Christensen (BYU).